Incident happened before commencement of a demonstration to condemn the State government

Intra-party rivalry in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Madurai came out in the open on Thursday, when two groups exchanged blows, just minutes before the commencement of a demonstration to condemn the State government and the Madurai Corporation for their “anti-people attitude.”

The party’s urban unit had called for a demonstration against what they called was an official apathy and “anti-people attitude.” The non-removal of garbage and imposition of huge taxes by the local body on residents had burdened the common man, they blamed. As the office-bearers started assembling on the Scott Road to participate in the meeting, one among the organisers suddenly stopped Esakki Muthu, a former zone chairman, from stepping on to the make-shift dais. As trouble erupted, in the melee, some youth wing cadres allegedly pulled him down and punched the other party men who attempted to protect Mr. Esakki Muthu.

Chaos prevailed in the vicinity. A few police personnel deployed for bandobust duty were also taken aback. However, some saner elements surfaced and ensured that things did not slip from bad to worse. After about 10 minutes of ruckus, the organisers, in a bid to bury their internal rift, began shouting slogans against the AIADMK government and the Corporation for its apathy and dispersed later.

However, when media persons rushed to the functionaries, they preferred not to speak. When asked whether he would lodge a police complaint, Mr. Esakki Muthu said, “This is our party issue…I will take it up with the high command to seek justice.”

Party functionaries said that the supporters of youth wing district secretary Jayaraman assaulted those in the opposite group. The entire “drama” took place in the presence of local leaders, including G. Thalapathi, P. M. Mannan and S. S. Ghouse Batcha.

After the revocation of suspension of a few DMK functionaries, who had violated the high command’s diktat by abstaining from the meeting addressed by actor Kushboo in the city recently, the demonstration against the AIADMK government on Thursday was the first gathering of all city and urban leaders.

The DMK functionaries said that they would take it up with their leader M.K. Alagiri, who is in the city, while the other group owing allegiance to party treasurer M.K. Stalin said that it had already briefed the high command.

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